Kiefer Sutherland Talks TV’s Evolution via Streaming: ‘We’re Not as Restricted’

Winter 2023 TCA: The Emmy-winning “24” star said new projects like Paramount+’s “Rabbit Hole” allow for further space to play

Kiefer Sutherland Rabbit Hole Paramount+
Kiefer Sutherland as John Weir on "Rabbit Hole." (Paramount+)

Kiefer Sutherland, the two-time Emmy-winning “24” star, said new projects like his upcoming “Rabbit Hole” from Paramount+ showcase television’s evolution via streaming, allowing for more room to play with mature content.

“The real difference for me on a show like ‘Rabbit Hole’ compared to the different iterations that television is going through — certainly from the beginning of ’24’ — is that we’re not as restricted in what kinds of stories we can tell, and we’re not restricted about how we tell them either, whether that be language or sensuality, or even violence,” the veteran actor said during the streamer’s panel at the Winter Television Critics Association press tour held at the Langham Hotel in Pasadena.

“Those restrictions certainly with streaming have been lessened, which is funny because I don’t find myself running around as this character swearing,” he continued. “But the options there, somehow it makes you feel different.”

Produced by CBS Studios, the new series will premiere with two episodes on March 26. The eight-episode show hails from writer-directors-co-showrunners John Requa and Glenn Ficarra (“This Is Us,” “WeCrashed”), who executive produce along with Sutherland, Charlie Gogolak, Suzan Bymel and Hunt Baldwin.

On “Rabbit Hole,” nothing is what it seems when John Weir (Sutherland), a master of deception in the world of corporate espionage, is framed for murder by powerful forces with the ability to influence and control populations.

During the panel, Ficarra and Requa said they wrote the role specifically for Sutherland, after hearing that the actor was looking for a part. The creatives described the project as an homage to ’70s-era corporate espionage programming, with Ficarra crediting Requa for the initial idea of a man who “manipulates reality for a living” — something the two noted was timely for the era of disinformation and misinformation in which we live.

“Rabbit Hole” also stars Charles Dance (“Game of Thrones”) as Dr. Ben Wilson, Meta Golding (“Empire”) as Hailey Winton, Enid Graham (“Mare of Easttown”) as Josephine “Jo” Madi, Jason Butler Harner (“Ozark”) as Valence, Walt Klink (“Arctic Circle”) as The Intern and Rob Yang (“Succession,” “The Menu”) as Edward Homm.